Controlling animal movements with your thoughts alone. Monitoring a pupil’s attention in class with a headset that scans brain activity. And, of course, the much more familiar cochlear implants that help the deaf hear or deep-brain stimulators that assist people with Parkinson’s disease to regain functional mobility.
This is neurotech—new, potentially revolutionary technology that promises to transform our lives. With all the global challenges of today, we need revolutionary technology to help the world cope.
Neurotech is our, frankly, mind-blowing attempt to connect human brains to machines, computers and mobile phones. Although brain-computer interfaces (BCIs) are the heart of neurotech, it is more broadly defined as technology able to collect, interpret, infer or modify information generated by any part of the nervous system. Why? To develop therapies for mental illnesses and neurological diseases. Beyond health care, it could soon be used in education, gaming, entertainment, transportation and so much more.
But there are pitfalls: there are no widely accepted regulations or guardrails yet when it comes to neurotech’s development or deployment. We need them—we need them bad. We must have principles and policies around neurotech, technology safeguards, and national and international regulations.
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